One of Us Is Dead: A Review

The Book:

Title: One of Us Is Dead

Author: Jeneva Rose

Published April 26th 2022 by Blackstone Publishing

Genre: Thriller, Mystery, Fiction, Adult

Pages: 272

“Opulence. Sex. Betrayal … Sometimes friendship can be deadly.

Meet the women of Buckhead—a place of expensive cars, huge houses, and competitive friendships.

Shannon was once the queen bee of Buckhead. But she’s been unceremoniously dumped by Bryce, her politician husband. When Bryce replaces her with a much younger woman, Shannon sets out to take revenge …

Crystal has stepped into Shannon’s old shoes. A young, innocent Texan girl, she simply has no idea what she’s up against …

Olivia has waited years to take Shannon’s crown as the unofficial queen of Buckhead. Finally, her moment has come. But to take her rightful place, she will need to use every backstabbing, manipulative, underhand trick in the book …

Jenny owns Glow, the most exclusive salon in town. Jenny knows all her clients’ secrets and darkest desires. But will she ever tell?

Who amongst these women will be clever enough to survive Buckhead—and who will wind up dead? They say that friendships can be complex, but no one said it could ever be this deadly.” –Goodreads

My Review:

The start of this book instantly hooked me. I was so intrigued to hear about these pretentious housewives and their lives.

One thing about the mystery books I have read, or just any book, is they cannot achieve the tension necessary to keep me begging for more. They reveal secrets to quickly. But this book… this book does it so well. It hints at things to come, but you dont know what the wives’ secrets are until it is necessary to reveal them. It keeps you ensconced in the story.

This one also had a play on the language is used. There are very few hints of death or talk of it in the beginning. But as the story grows more tense and more drama unfolds, more and more euphemisms and mentions of death are sprinkled throughout the end. It gave a good symbolism for that growing sense of doom the wives’ felt.

I did love the ending. There was a huge plot twist. I did not expect the ending, but I did, but I didn’t, if that makes sense. I cannot say much without spoiling, but the ending was good.

I have never read a book by Rose but let me tell you I definitely am going to check out more of her books. She wrote beautifully. I have not read a book in a long time that is written about a modern time that uses modern terms but is not cringey or cliche… if that makes sense. A lot of books using modern slang always come off so insincere and make me roll my eyes. This one didn’t though. I really liked it.

This book had everything. It had Real Housewives drama. It was a budding romance. It was about murder. It talked about how sh*tty adult white men are. I loved it so much.

I loved this book. This will definitely be on my top books this year’s list.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Star Rating: 4.5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Curtsies & Conspiracies: A Review

The Book:

Title: Curtsies & Conspiracies

Author: Gail Carriger

Series: Finishing School #2

Genre: Steampunk, YA, Fantasy

Pages: 310

Does one need four fully grown foxgloves for decorating a dinner table for six guests? Or is it six foxgloves to kill four fully grown guests?

Sophronia’s first year at Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality has certainly been rousing! For one thing, finishing school is training her to be a spy–won’t Mumsy be surprised? Furthermore, Sophronia got mixed up in an intrigue over a stolen device and had a cheese pie thrown at her in a most horrid display of poor manners.

Now, as she sneaks around the dirigible school, eavesdropping on the teachers’ quarters and making clandestine climbs to the ship’s boiler room, she learns that there may be more to a field trip to London than is apparent at first. A conspiracy is afoot–one with dire implications for both supernaturals and humans. Sophronia must rely on her training to discover who is behind the dangerous plot-and survive the London Season with a full dance card.

In this sequel to New York Times bestselling Etiquette & Espionage, class is back in session with more petticoats and poison, tea trays and treason. Gail’s distinctive voice, signature humor, and lush steampunk setting are sure to be the height of fashion this season.” –Goodreads

My Review:

This review is going to be pretty short because a lot of the things I said in the review about the first book still hold true for this book.

I loved it. I do think it gets a little repetitive, but each little adventure they have is different. This time they go to London.

This time we get a little bit more of the romance between Sophronia and Soap. It makes me so happy whenever I heard them interacting. He literally was so charming.

Felix, the other love interest, was also really charming. I think it could go either way and I would be happy with the outcome. But, I definitely would prefer Soap since he is such a kind person.

I love how Sophronia is not concerned with the romance that was budding up between the two men. She is not bothered but is developing feelings. She is more concerned with learning how to be good at espionage and about her friends thethan she is about the men in her life.

The names get even more ridiculous and its just so fun. This book series is just so fun!

It says YA but I honestly think this is for anyone. I think everyone should check these out.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Star Rating: 4

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Etiquette and Espionage: A Review

The Book:

Title: Etiquette & Espionage

Author: Gail Carrier

Series: Finishing School #1

Published February 5th 2013 by Little, Brown Books for Young Readers

Genre: Steampunk, YA, Fantasy

It’s one thing to learn to curtsy properly. It’s quite another to learn to curtsy and throw a knife at the same time. Welcome to Finishing School.

Fourteen-year-old Sophronia is a great trial to her poor mother. Sophronia is more interested in dismantling clocks and climbing trees than proper manners–and the family can only hope that company never sees her atrocious curtsy. Mrs. Temminnick is desperate for her daughter to become a proper lady. So she enrolls Sophronia in Mademoiselle Geraldine’s Finishing Academy for Young Ladies of Quality.

But Sophronia soon realizes the school is not quite what her mother might have hoped. At Mademoiselle Geraldine’s, young ladies learn to finish…everything. Certainly, they learn the fine arts of dance, dress, and etiquette, but they also learn to deal out death, diversion, and espionage–in the politest possible ways, of course. Sophronia and her friends are in for a rousing first year’s education.” -Goodreads

My Review:

Wow!

This book was fantastic. I could not stop listening to it.

I have become fully entrenched in this world. I finished the series within a week and I loved it. I thought it was so amazing.

My grandmother tried to have me read these book for the past seven years. Everytime I asked for a book recommendation, she would suggest this book. I always turned her down and now I really regret it.

I had picked this up back in high school and I didn’t like it. But I decided to try it out since it was available on my library app. I am in shock at how good it way.

It was so funny and light-hearted. The series takes us through the whole schooling of finishing school, which I love books about school, and then introduces the act of “finishing” meaning murder and espionage. How cool!

This Victorian age novel immediately trapped me in this world. As I said in my review of Stalking Jack the Ripper, I have been getting so into these Victorianesque novels. I would like to blame Bridgerton, since I have been into that Regency era, and this is similar.

I loved Saphronia so much. She was spunky and loved all things espionage. She was a strong female character, but I don’t think she goes through a lot of growth in the book. Sometimes that is okay, like in the case of this book. That just is a thing I like to see. I like the see characters becoming more. Her growth lies in her skills but not in her personality or character in this book.

All of the other girls in the series were awesome and I loved Soap and the other sooties. They are all so unique and I cant wait to see where they go in the series.

I loved all the funky names in this series. They are all so interesting like Frowbritcher the butler.

It also has vampires and werewolves which was just amazing. Carriger makes her own rules for these individuals. The world-building just with the use of these two species alone is amazing.

This book is such a nice fun light reading. I believe the narration probably made this book 100% better. The narrator is literally so fun and makes wonderful voices for all the characters.

I recommend this to anyone literally. I apologize to my grandmother who I said was wrong for liking this book. Grandma, you were right and thank you for introducing me into Carriger’s novels.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Star Rating: 4.5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Hunting Prince Dracula: A Review

The Book:

Title: Hunting Prince Dracula

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #2

Published September 19th 2017 by Little, Brown & Company

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, YA, Romance

“Following the grief and horror of her discovery of Jack the Ripper’s true identity, Audrey Rose Wadsworth has no choice but to flee London and its memories. Together with the arrogant yet charming Thomas Cresswell, she journeys to the dark heart of Romania, home to one of Europe’s best schools of forensic medicine… and to another notorious killer, Vlad the Impaler, whose thirst for blood became legend.

But her life’s dream is soon tainted by blood-soaked discoveries in the halls of the school’s forbidding castle, and Audrey Rose is compelled to investigate the strangely familiar murders. What she finds brings all her terrifying fears to life once again.

In this New York Times bestselling sequel to Kerri Maniscalco’s haunting #1 debut Stalking Jack the Ripper, bizarre murders are discovered in the castle of Prince Vlad the Impaler, otherwise known as Dracula. Could it be a copycat killer…or has the depraved prince been brought back to life?” –Goodreads

My Review:

Just like the first book, I loved this!

This one was almost more complex than the last one. The ending we never saw coming. The vampire lore that the story brought in was so cool.

I love how Maniscalco does so much research to make her books feel so real. I love everything about her writing so far. She spins real facts into this hauntingly beautiful story.

The library app I am listening to these books from is not giving them to me fast enough. I wait for a week for this book and I finished it within the day…again.

The story becomes even more intense. The stakes are so much higher. It is so enchanting how Maniscalco weaves death into a story about a girl making her way in the world of science.

A lot of people seem to dislike Aubrey in the first book and love her in this book. I would have to agree to an extent. I loved her last book, but she was kind of annoying with the whole “I am different” vibe. As I said in the last review, I hate that. I hate women putting down other women. In this one though, we get to see a more progressive side of her mind. She doesn’t shame the other women around her for liking the things they like.

That difference in the female portrayal also has a lot to do with how many more powerful and strong women are presented in this book. The last book, there weren’t a lot of females, and the ones there were not fully developed characters and their lives revolved around societal standards. In this book, Maniscalco provides a few women all with different personalities. They all have their strengths and weaknesses. It is important for fantasy novels to provide well-rounded portrayals of multiple people.

The book becomes so much more intense in this round. The protagonist is a lot closer to the murders. She also suffers from PTSD after the affairs of the last book. It adds more to that mythical “dead rising” that goes along with the story of Dracula.

I love this book series and cannot wait to start on the next one.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Star Rating: 4.5

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Stalking Jack the Ripper Review

My Book:

Title: Stalking Jack the Ripper

Author: Kerri Maniscalco

Series: Stalking Jack the Ripper #1

Published September 20th 2016 by Jimmy Patterson

Genre: Historical Fiction, Mystery, YA, Romance

Pages: 337

“Presented by James Patterson’s new children’s imprint, this deliciously creepy horror novel has a storyline inspired by the Ripper murders and an unexpected, blood-chilling conclusion…

Seventeen-year-old Audrey Rose Wadsworth was born a lord’s daughter, with a life of wealth and privilege stretched out before her. But between the social teas and silk dress fittings, she leads a forbidden secret life.

Against her stern father’s wishes and society’s expectations, Audrey often slips away to her uncle’s laboratory to study the gruesome practice of forensic medicine. When her work on a string of savagely killed corpses drags Audrey into the investigation of a serial murderer, her search for answers brings her close to her own sheltered world.

The story’s shocking twists and turns, augmented with real, sinister period photos, will make this dazzling, #1 New York Times bestselling debut from author Kerri Maniscalco impossible to forget.” –Goodreads

My Review:

Why have I been avoiding this book?

I have been putting off reading this book for years. I did not think it was going to be super interesting or unique. But, recently I have had the motivation to read books that I would not normally get around to reading.

And omg I wish I had read this sooner!

This story was amazing. I was beyond speechless listening to it. I got it on audiobook and had it finished within the day.

I am as enraptured by Maniscalco’s writing as the main character is about autopsies.

Reading about gore is usually something I avoid, but this book made it so delightful to read about. I honestly thought it was so beautiful how even when we were not talking about a deceased body, there was a certain way the author related it to death like red was blood red.

The romance in this story is also so sweet. It is a little predictable, but that’s what romance books are in away. I did enjoy how the romance wasn’t outright. She was still her own person in this book and the romance was more of a slow burn.

Wadsworth was a super strong character. I have been getting really into victoria era books, so I loved this. Her obsession with the deceased and crime does not take away from the fact that she is a lady and likes beautiful dresses. She also likes to wear pants and boots. I don’t know why but I just loved that about her.

I do think she has that “not like other girls” vibe going on about her in this book, but it gets better in other books. I don’t like that vibe because I think it’s harmful to women who like “normal” girl things to like.

Thomas Creswell is such a respectful gentleman. He is smart, but he will always let Wadsworth figure out the crime scene first or give her room to talk. He is a perfect gentleman.

I loved this book so much and I am loving the series. Check out this book and also check out my reviews of the series as they come.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Star Rating: 4.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Heartstopper Volume 2 and Show Review

The Book:

Title: Heartstopper: Volume Two

Author: Alice Oseman

Series: Heartstopper #2

Published July 11th 2019 by Hodder Children’s Books

Genre: Graphic Novels, Romance, LGBTQ+

Pages: 320

“Nick and Charlie are best friends. Nick knows Charlie’s gay, and Charlie is sure that Nick isn’t.

But love works in surprising ways, and Nick is discovering all kinds of things about his friends, his family … and himself.” –Goodreads

My Review:

This was so cute!

The book and the show are so good! I have all positive things to say about both, so the review is going to be a mix of both.

Agh!!! I was reading Volume 2 in the library and I kept squealing. Thankfully I was not in the quiet study section.

Literally, Nick and Charlie are my favorite couple ever! They are so cute and unproblematic.

The illustrations are amazing in the book. I love their interactions and all the little leaves floating around. It is just so cute. That was one of my favorite things about the show, that they had the leaves floating around whenever something good happened.

I feel like the show brought so much more to the characters. I was so impressed by the casting. They found a perfect Charlie Spring and Nick Nelson. The background characters, Tao (what was up with his hair?), Elle, Dary, and Tara were all perfect. They literally look exactly like their characters in the drawings.

We also got more background and got to see the characters interact without Charlie and Nick which was so fun. I really love the Tara and Darcy storyline. It was really interesting to see more of their character and more of their coming out as a couple.

All the tension and cuteness of the comic were in the show. It was so refreshing to have such a well-done book-to-movie adaptation. There were a few things missing and there were a few things added, but it was so amazing.

I binged the whole show in a day and I read Volume 2 within a day. I am obsessed with their story and I want a season 2. I cannot wait to read Volume 3.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Star Rating: 5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

The Most Beautiful Book: World of Wonders

The Book:

Title: World of Wonders: In Praise of Fireflies, Whale Sharks, and Other Astonishments

Author: Aimee Nezhukumatathil

Published August 3rd 2020 by Milkweed Editions

Genre: Non-fiction, Enviornment, Essays

Pages: 165

“From beloved, award-winning poet Aimee Nezhukumatathil comes a debut work of nonfiction–a collection of essays about the natural world, and the way its inhabitants can teach, support, and inspire us.

As a child, Nezhukumatathil called many places home: the grounds of a Kansas mental institution, where her Filipina mother was a doctor; the open skies and tall mountains of Arizona, where she hiked with her Indian father; and the chillier climes of western New York and Ohio. But no matter where she was transplanted–no matter how awkward the fit or forbidding the landscape–she was able to turn to our world’s fierce and funny creatures for guidance.

“What the peacock can do,” she tells us, “is remind you of a home you will run away from and run back to all your life.” The axolotl teaches us to smile, even in the face of unkindness; the touch-me-not plant shows us how to shake off unwanted advances; the narwhal demonstrates how to survive in hostile environments. Even in the strange and the unlovely, Nezhukumatathil finds beauty and kinship. For it is this way with wonder: it requires that we are curious enough to look past the distractions in order to fully appreciate the world’s gifts.

Warm, lyrical, and gorgeously illustrated by Fumi Nakamura, World of Wonders is a book of sustenance and joy.” –Goodreads

My Review:

I read this book for a class this quarter. I also read Nezhukumatathil’s other book Oceanic. They were both amazing.

But this one was superb.

I loved it.

It is 165 pages of pure bliss. The book takes you on a journey through Nezhukumatathil’s life and how she relates it to nature.

Environmental creative non-fiction is a field dominated by white men, so seeing an Asian-American woman’s writing in this genre is refreshing. She writes about racism and how she healed from it in nature.

Nezhukumatathil has such a unique relationship with nature. She has traveled to places to see flowers bloom. She has swam with whale sharks. She talks to cardinals in her backyard. This is all illustrated throughout her writing.

The writing brought me into the story. I was able to experience what she felt like in each chapter of her life. I experienced everything because she wrote so beautifully.

Nezhukumatathil typically writes poetry, but her essay format gave her even more of a storytelling ability. It is so alluring to read and I could not put this down.

I also loved the illustrations done in this book. Most of the species talked about are illustrated at the beginning of the chapter which helps pulls you into the story even more. You are able to visualize every creature or plant she talks about.

I love this books so much. If you are into poetry, please go check out Nezhukumatathil. She is amazing and has something in her collections for everyone.

As always, thanks for reading,

Star Rating: 5

Rating: 5 out of 5.

Song of Achilles: A Review

The Book:

Title: The Song of Achilles

Author: Madeline Miller

Published August 28th 2012

Genre: Historical Fiction, Fantasy, LGBT,

Pages: 369

“Achilles, “the best of all the Greeks,” son of the cruel sea goddess Thetis and the legendary king Peleus, is strong, swift, and beautiful, irresistible to all who meet him. Patroclus is an awkward young prince, exiled from his homeland after an act of shocking violence. Brought together by chance, they forge an inseparable bond, despite risking the gods’ wrath.

They are trained by the centaur Chiron in the arts of war and medicine, but when word comes that Helen of Sparta has been kidnapped, all the heroes of Greece are called upon to lay siege to Troy in her name. Seduced by the promise of a glorious destiny, Achilles joins their cause, and torn between love and fear for his friend, Patroclus follows. Little do they know that the cruel Fates will test them both as never before and demand a terrible sacrifice.”

My Review:

I hate to speak negatively about books a lot of people like, for fear of retaliation. But I did not really get why this book is so popular.

It is very well-written. I am not here to slander Miller’s writing because I think that her writing is amazing.

Books that are this heavily researched usually read like a history textbook. This read like an actual story. Miller used period-accurate wording. She also just wrote really well.

But it was not enough to keep me interested.

I got this book because so many people recommended this book off of TikTok. They said this was one of the saddest books ever. It held them captivated. People were able to read it in one day.

I shed no tears. It took me three months to read. And I honestly was not interested.

The major thing that threw me off from this book was a sex scene between minors. I understand that at the time being 14 was probably of age, but they continually referenced in the book how they were just children, and then I had a very pornographic scene of them having sex. I know, me being mad about spice? How could I? But I don’t want to hear about people under the age of 18 having sex in graphic detail. It is just not my cup of tea.

The next thing that bugged me was just that I was bored. The book covers the span of like 27 years in 369 pages. I just got bored. If you are into huge time jumps or whole years of life being summed up, then that’s great. I just hated how the book read so slow but also was jumping so quickly through their lives.

Again, not my cup of tea.

I thought there was a lot of background knowledge that you needed to have to read this book. Thankfully for people not versed in the Greek culture, there was a lot of information on the back. I knew most of what they referenced in the story, but some things were hard to understand.

I don’t want to say this book was bad. I thought that the writing was good. The ending was also okay. The last 60 pages made up for some of the slowness in the beginning but not much.

In no way do I think that is the writer’s fault; I just don’t think I liked the book.

I do want to give it a decent score though, so I am giving it a 3 star because I do think it was written well.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Star Rating: 3.0

Rating: 3 out of 5.

The Sequels are Always Better: Kingdom of Flesh and Fire Review

The Book:

Title: A Kingdom of Flesh and Fire

Author: Jennifer L. Armentrout

Series: Blood and Ash #2

Published September 1st 2020 by Blue Box Press

Genre: Fantasy, Romance, New Adult

Pages: 637

A Betrayal…

Everything Poppy has ever believed in is a lie, including the man she was falling in love with. Thrust among those who see her as a symbol of a monstrous kingdom, she barely knows who she is without the veil of the Maiden. But what she does know is that nothing is as dangerous to her as him. The Dark One. The Prince of Atlantia. He wants her to fight him, and that’s one order she’s more than happy to obey. He may have taken her, but he will never have her.

A Choice…

Casteel Da’Neer is known by many names and many faces. His lies are as seductive as his touch. His truths as sensual as his bite. Poppy knows better than to trust him. He needs her alive, healthy, and whole to achieve his goals. But he’s the only way for her to get what she wants—to find her brother Ian and see for herself if he has become a soulless Ascended. Working with Casteel instead of against him presents its own risks. He still tempts her with every breath, offering up all she’s ever wanted. Casteel has plans for her. Ones that could expose her to unimaginable pleasure and unfathomable pain. Plans that will force her to look beyond everything she thought she knew about herself—about him. Plans that could bind their lives together in unexpected ways that neither kingdom is prepared for. And she’s far too reckless, too hungry, to resist the temptation.

A Secret…

But unrest has grown in Atlantia as they await the return of their Prince. Whispers of war have become stronger, and Poppy is at the very heart of it all. The King wants to use her to send a message. The Descenters want her dead. The wolven are growing more unpredictable. And as her abilities to feel pain and emotion begin to grow and strengthen, the Atlantians start to fear her. Dark secrets are at play, ones steeped in the blood-drenched sins of two kingdoms that would do anything to keep the truth hidden. But when the earth begins to shake, and the skies start to bleed, it may already be too late.” -Goodreads

My Review:

*Spoilers for the first book most likely*

This book was everything!

I did not like From Blood and Ash. The writing was sloppy and I had way too many questions and it angered me.

But, in this book, it all came together. The writing became more concrete and defined. I understood more about the creatures in this world. We got a map in this novel. The worldbuilding was way more in-depth in this book.

The romance was amazing. It was kind of lovers to enemies to lovers and I loved it. Casteel and Poppy’s romance was unique. They were so frustrating, but the frustration is all a part of the fun.

The world became a four-dimensional world. I felt like it was paper-thin and not super defined in the last book. In this one, I felt like I understood the history and the layout of the world a lot better.

I will say that this critique of it is not very developed in the last book could be because Poppy does not know much about the world around her. We do not get some information because she is not supposed to know that information. I did think the way it was written was confusing though.

This book had a better structure. I hated how the last book had no time jumps unless someone fell asleep. In this book, we speed through unnecessary events a lot faster.

I also was in shock over the ending. I have the next book, but I have not started reading it because I want my genuine reaction to the book.

I love the turn this book has taken. I have gotten more invested and am ready to see where this goes.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie

Star Rating: 4

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Once Upon a Con: A Triple Book Review

Choosing to download this book on Audible was a shot in the dark. My new reading trend is to find literally any romance book that is free on Audible and listen. This led me to this series.

The Book:

Title: Geekerella

Author: Ashley Poston

Series: Once Upon a Con #1

Published April 4th 2017 by Quirk Books

Genre: YA, Romance, Contemporary

Pages: 320

Cinderella goes to the con in this fandom-fueled twist on the classic fairy tale.

Part romance, part love letter to nerd culture, and all totally adorbs, Geekerella is a fairy tale for anyone who believes in the magic of fandom. Geek girl Elle Wittimer lives and breathes Starfield, the classic sci-fi series she grew up watching with her late father. So when she sees a cosplay contest for a new Starfield movie, she has to enter. The prize? An invitation to the ExcelsiCon Cosplay Ball, and a meet-and-greet with the actor slated to play Federation Prince Carmindor in the reboot. With savings from her gig at the Magic Pumpkin food truck (and her dad’s old costume), Elle’s determined to win…unless her stepsisters get there first.

Teen actor Darien Freeman used to live for cons—before he was famous. Now they’re nothing but autographs and awkward meet-and-greets. Playing Carmindor is all he’s ever wanted, but the Starfield fandom has written him off as just another dumb heartthrob. As ExcelsiCon draws near, Darien feels more and more like a fake—until he meets a girl who shows him otherwise.” -Goodreads

The Review:

I checked out Geekerella first and I fell in love!

Now, the book starts off slow. I was utterly bored at first. But, eventually, the story progresses and I became invested in the characters.

This is supposed to be a fairytale retelling of Cinderella. I think it does a pretty accurate job of copying the Disney story. It was almost too exact in my opinion. The other two had subtle similarities, and this one was too on the nose.

The characters are super lovable. It is nice to see how the romance of the two main characters and the side romance play out. The side character romance was really unexpected. It was also LGBTQIA+ and I really appreciated that.

The book is boring, but it does get better. The next two books are better, so do not let this book get you down.

Star Rating: 3.8

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Book:

Title: The Princess and the Fangirl

Series: Once Upon a Con #2

Published April 2nd, 2019 by Quirk Books

Pages: 320

“The Prince and the Pauper gets a modern makeover in this adorable, witty, and a heartwarming young adult novel set in the Geekerella universe by national bestselling author Ashley Poston.

Imogen Lovelace is an ordinary fangirl on an impossible mission: save her favorite character, Princess Amara, from being killed off from her favorite franchise, Starfield. The problem is, Jessica Stone—the actress who plays Princess Amara—wants nothing more than to leave the intense scrutiny of the fandom behind. If this year’s ExcelsiCon isn’t her last, she’ll consider her career derailed.

When a case of mistaken identity throws look-a-likes Imogen and Jess together, they quickly become enemies. But when the script for the Starfield sequel leaks, and all signs point to Jess, she and Imogen must trade places to find the person responsible. That’s easier said than done when the girls step into each other’s shoes and discover new romantic possibilities, as well as the other side of intense fandom. As these “princesses” race to find the script-leaker, they must rescue themselves from their own expectations, and redefine what it means to live happily ever after.” –Goodreads

The Review:

The Princess and the Fangirl was the best book out of this trilogy. It was so funny. Romance was not at the forefront of this book. There was a bigger message of accepting yourself and falling in love with fantasy. It focused more on character development than romance.

The retelling was based on Princess and the Pauper. I do not know much of the story surrounding this, so to me, this was a lot more subtle than the last retelling.

The two main characters were both super interesting and unique. I will say that they had very similar voices, in terms of writing, so when listening, and probably the same for reading, it was sometimes hard to tell who was speaking without looking at the title of the chapter.

The romance in this book was cute although it was not the most present. One was a slow burn which made me swoon so hard. One of the main romances of this book was LGBTQIA+ so that was a huge benefit.

Star Rating: 4.1

Rating: 4 out of 5.

The Book:

Title: Bookish and the Beast

Series: Once Upon a Con #3

Published August 4th, 2020 by Quirk Book

Pages: 288

In the third book in Ashley Poston’s Once Upon a Con series, Beauty and the Beast is retold in the beloved Starfield universe.

Rosie Thorne is feeling stuck—on her college application essays, in her small town, and on that mysterious General Sond cosplayer she met at ExcelsiCon. Most of all, she’s stuck in her grief over her mother’s death. Her only solace was her late mother’s library of rare Starfield novels, but even that disappeared when they sold it to pay off hospital bills.

On the other hand, Vance Reigns has been Hollywood royalty for as long as he can remember—with all the privilege and scrutiny that entails. When a tabloid scandal catches up to him, he’s forced to hide out somewhere the paparazzi would never expect to find him: Small Town USA. At least there’s a library in the house. Too bad he doesn’t read.

When Rosie and Vance’s paths collide and a rare book is accidentally destroyed, Rosie finds herself working to repay the debt. And while most Starfield superfans would jump at the chance to work in close proximity to the Vance Reigns, Rosie has discovered something about Vance: he’s a jerk, and she can’t stand him. The feeling is mutual.

But as Vance and Rosie begrudgingly get to know each other, their careful masks come off—and they may just find that there’s more risk in shutting each other out than in opening their hearts.” -Goodreads

My Review:

This was a super cute read. It played off of Beauty and the Beast. I love Beauty and the Beast retellings. I think this one was the most subtle. If you did not know this was a fairytale retelling you may not even notice if you weren’t aware.

It is a hetero romance but there is a side of LGBTQIA+ relationships, but it is not super focused on.

This one had the least amount of development and it went super fast. It was not the best out of the series, but it was still fun. I was still invested in the story.

My favorite part of this whole series is that the characters of each story are all interconnected. They all are referenced in the other books. Each new character meets an old one, and there are little snippets of the past relationships that we get to follow.

The series is so uplifting and cute. I read it all in three days because I binge-read it. These are perfect smaller romance reads to enjoy.

Star Rating: 3.0

Rating: 3 out of 5.

As always, thanks for reading,

A Bookie